2019年12月21日 星期六

Should I Intervene When I See a Parent Mistreating a Child?

Should I have helped?

As I was rounding the corner in my neighborhood, I saw a teenage girl and her father in an argument. She appeared to be about 15 and was wearing a hoodie, with dyed hair; she generally looked the part of a rebellious, sullen teen. Walking behind him, the daughter kicked at her father’s heels. He responded by whipping around and throwing his full cup of coffee in her face. She responded with a number of expletives, but seemed unfazed and unhurt.

Living in a large city, I sometimes observe behavior that I find dangerous and/or abusive on the street, but as a young woman I hesitate to intervene, afraid of putting myself in harm’s way. In this case, the father was clearly angry, and quite a bit larger than me. I doubt he would have touched me (it was broad daylight), but I still feared getting involved.

Should I have helped this girl — let her know, at the very least, that her father’s behavior was unacceptable? What is the best way to help someone when you yourself feel relatively helpless?

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